Hairspray is the season's must-see Broadway musical, but for six days in September the hottest ticket in town was a front-row seat at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Indeed, says Hilary Swank, attending the shows is "like going to good theater." Among the celebs who braved the crush of photographers: Britney Spears, with bodyguards, and Sandra Bullock, solo. And across town, First Daughter Barbara Bush joined Natalie Portman, k.d. lang and Bernadette Peters at a dinner for designer Zac Posen before taking to the dance floor at Mr. Chow, while Stella McCartney's store opening drew fans like Alicia Silverstone. "I love Stella's stuff," she raved. Stars and fashion insiders alike knew to observe Fashion Week's first commandment: dress to impress. And if not, play it for laughs. "I'm wearing a knockoff," announced Sex and the City's Mario Cantone at the Anna Sui show. "It's called Anna Sushi."
Best Supporting Actress
Living up to her style-icon status, Gwyneth Paltrow struck just the right fashion note, whether celebrating the opening of Stella McCartney's new store, taking a twirl with Oscar de la Renta at a black-tie gala or cheering on pal Calvin Klein at his runway show. "She has great natural elegance," says de la Renta. "Not to mention she's a wonderful dancer."
The Front Row
Fashion Week isn't just about the designer clothes—it's also about the famous faces
Chad Lowe, Hilary Swank and Christy Turligton at the Marc Jacobs show
Barbara Bush and pal Jamil Moen at Jeremy Scott
Joan Collins at the House of Field show
Phillip Bloch, Keri Russell and Janice Dickinson at BCBG
Natalie Portman and Charlie at Zac Posen
Patricia Field, Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker at Narciso Rodriguez
Natalie Maines at House of Field
Chilli and Usher cozied up as a couple. "We're collaborating on love," he said. Jimmy Fallon and designer pal Tara Subkoff saw eye to eye. As for the Kelly Osboure-P.Diddy pairing: What's up with that?
Fallon and Subkoff at Imitation of Christ
Chilli and Usher at Kenneth Cole
Osbourne and P.Diddy at Marc Jacobs
I Really LOVE My...
One day, four outfits, same Chanel tote and Mary Janes. Actress Jamie King may be a designer-duds quick-change artist, but she gives an arm and her legs to her favorite accessories.
While Gisele and Naomi hit the runway in the designers' spring best, they had no monopoly on looking great. The stars turned out in their finest, from Liv Tyler and Michael Michele's jeans-and-dressy-jacket combos to Julianna Margulies's black-and-white chic. Throw in Christy Turlington's sequined plunge and Sandra Bullock's classy daytime sparkle and the sidewalk was as much fun to watch as the catwalk.
SPRING'S TOP 10 TRENDS
1. Slip dresses
3. '50s-inspired silhouettes
4. Polka dots
5. Cargo pants
6. Sorbet shades
7. Handkerchief hems
9. Pencil skirts
Undaunted by the presence of pros like Carmen Kass and darling du jour Natalia Vodianova, rapper Eve shed a case of nerves to join pal Mya in their very first runway twirl. The two made it look as easy as an air kiss.
Rapper Eve (left) and singe Mya at House of Field
Carmen Kass (left) and Gisele Bündchen at Michael Kors
HOT NEW MODEL
Name: Natalia Vodianova
Family: Son Lucas, 7 months, with husband Justin Portman, an artist
No. of Shows: 12 (left, at Zac Posen)
behind the seams
what was she thinking?
Combining tawdry (her garish ensemble) and tacky (her visible underwear), Courtney Love was exposed as a fashion fiasco at a 7th on Sixth bash.
Are Julianne Moore and Ellen Barkin sharing the same Hermes appointment book? Fashion Week's version of The Banger Sisters took in the Diane Von Furstenberg, M.R.S. and Rick Owens shows together. Dressing up the front row while power pouting for the paparazzi can be so bonding....
Has motherhood mellowed Elizabeth Hurley's style? A Versace muse who never met a plunging neckline she didn't love, the star looked at home, front and center, at Ralph Lauren, studiously taking in his classically elegant
togs. After all, how practical are sequins at a Mommy and Me class? ...
Making spectacles of themselves is what Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley—a.k.a. Edina and Patsy—do with boozy relish on Ab Fab. So when the terrible twosome taped a bit for the show from the front row at Jared Gold—lighting up cigarettes, rolling eyes and snoozing—the fashion flock was in stitches....
The award for most Public Displays of Affection goes to Anne Heche and hubby Coley Laffoon. At the Von Furstenberg show, they clocked in hugs, hand squeezes, inner-thigh tickles and a grope or two.
Key ring: Available at Marc Jacobs N.Y.C.
Limited-edition goodies served up at Fashion Week:
•HAVE A HEART Marc Jacobs and Christy Turlington do, and you can too. The duo have created cool key chains ($15), leather bracelets ($12-15) and tees ($25) for Cancer Care.
•CANDY LAND And talk about great taste! Carolina Herrera and Marc Bouwer are among the designers lending their names to selections of their favorite Ethel M. chocolates ($30) to benefit Kidscharities.org.
Chocolates: Sold at EtheIM.com